Saturday, February 22, 2014

Common Core (part 1)

I've had some friends post some things on Facebook about Common Core, both pro and con, recently. I am also currently tutoring some public school students using Common Core Math texts. This combined with the fact we already home school and I generally distrust Public Educators forced me to actually do my homework on Common Core. After reading much of what is posted on their website, I have to say that not everything is bad. The problem lies with the main philosophy, and sheer lack of logic put forth by the writers.

 The writers of the curriculum state in several places that CC is based on best practices and research from all states, thus its implementation will raise all states current standards, and will continue to do so in the future. By using an ounce of logic, the second part of this must, by definition, be false. You cannot have best practices and trials of different curricula if, by law, everyone must be taught the same things at the same time. This is but one of many flaws in basic reasoning that are evident in their own published documents.

 Putting that aside, there are also numerous, near direct quotes from from "The Communist Manifesto" in the resource documents made available on their website. I find that disturbing. We have seen in the last 70 ish years, that the only thing communism does for its people is create a large class of unhappy, underpaid worker bees, and a select few elites that rule and prosper by way of fear. This is not what I want for the next generation of American children. I want them to have the freedom to choose, good or bad, their own paths. (Discussing ideas of governance can be hard, I may devote a few posts to that in the future.)

 Now for the good. I did like a few of the books listed on the book lists. They had "Blueberries for Sal" and several others for K. As a matter of fact, I would say about half of the books for each grade are actually pretty good. Some of the others, especially for the middle and upper grades, are OK if there is a knowledgeable and fair person leading the discussion. Otherwise, it is just a time for indoctrinating children into at best debatable beliefs or, more typically, just plain falsehoods. As an aside, and my own little soap box (like this whole post wasn't one), the high school math texts would better serve our students by helping them start a fire to keep warm. They teach little to no depth, topics within each class are wildly disorganized, and students are not led to see math as a unified subject. These upper level textbooks teach math in a piecemeal manner. Also, a lot of our colleges are letting Elementary Education majors graduate without any solid training in math.(and from personal experience teaching these students at a University, most of them openly say they hate math) No one should be certified to teach any level of math without at least being convinced of its necessity in daily life. I will say this is the fault of our colleges and state certification officials. These teachers clearly do not love learning, and therefor should not be allowed to teach(see, this is an example of clear simple logic. ei. I hate learning, therefore I should not teach. Easy.)

 I will stop here, there is clearly much more to be said about each of these major issues. Luckily none of those effect the facts about Common Core...It is not a good thing for student or country. Its probably fine for teachers, it turns them into robots. Teach what your told, when your told, go home, eat, sleep, come back and do it again. I will end this with my new tag line; Parents, do whats right, bring your children home, where they belong.

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